“This story has some charming moments and a cute premise but falls a titch flat.”
As “Sir” Gabriel reads his own rendition of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs to his little sister Mia, she’s quick to point out that his retelling is different from their mom and dad’s, and, in her opinion, nowhere near as good. Why? Because Sir Gabriel quickly dispenses of the wolf—and hence most of the plot—in both stories, allowing calmness and ice cream sundaes to reign supreme. After being abandoned by his audience, Sir Gabriel soon discovers that without the wolf, he has nothing to do but untie and retie his shoes ad nauseum and sell his sword at a garage sale “since he really wasn’t using it anymore” and has become the “hero of a very boring story.” When Gabriel realizes that life’s story is more interesting when there’s opposition, struggle, and discomfort, and everything won’t always be smooth sailing and ice cream sundaes, he sets out to tell a new story. While in the end still nothing bad happens, he chooses to face such a possibility with courage, and that makes all the difference. In both concept and message, this fractured fairy tale has boundless potential, but it unfortunately leaves some of it unrealized and readers wishing for a little more. The distinctive style of the illustrations is fun, matching the lighthearted merging of imagination and reality in the story.
A boy’s little sister doesn’t like the way he improvises when he tells tales, in this funny and bighearted tale about what makes a story good.
The stories Gabe ?reads? to his little sister start out sounding familiar — a red-caped girl on her way to Grandma’s house meets a wolf in the woods — but then, just in the nick of time, Sir Gabriel swoops in to save the day. His sister points out that’s not how the story is supposed to go. The boy says his way is better: ?Nothing bad happens in my story.? But when his sister stops listening, the boy realizes he needs to reconsider. Are his stories boring? Why does it seem like there’s always something missing?
Laura Farina’s funny and empathetic tale explores why a good story is never made up of only good things. Many young children want a story to be exciting, but they don’t want anything scary or bad to happen. This picture book shows how a brief period of being afraid or sad is necessary to make a story worth hearing. It makes for a great discussion starter and works well for loads of language arts applications, including writing skills, elements of a story, and fairy tales or other literary genres. With its playful humor, endearing sibling relationship and high-energy illustrations by Elina Ellis, this book also makes an entertaining read-aloud.
Laura Farina has published two full-length poetry collections. She is the recipient of the Archibald Lampman Award, and has appeared on the longlist for both the ReLit Award and the CBC Poetry Prize. This Is the Path the Wolf Took is her first picture book. Laura lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.Elina Ellis draws both digitally and using traditional media, creating her own books and illustrating books for others. She lives in Cambridge, United Kingdom.